Tulum was the last great metropolis created and inhabited by the Mayan civilization between 1300s to 1500s. It was a place of veneration for their Great Descending God whose figure is still seen today on its sacred temples. Moreover, it also served as an essential Caribbean port city where tribes from distant parts of Mexico and even Central America would journey to exchange obsidian.
To shield their beloved home from the coveting eyes of opportunistic traders and marauders, locals built a formidable wall around their city.
For decades, spiritually-inclined travelers have been magnetized to the mysterious power of ancient Mayan energies and historic sites in Tulum. What once used to be a tranquil beach town with few yogis and artists has since become an illustrious getaway; although luxurious hotels abound, there is still plenty of nature’s wonders and indigenous charm awaiting you!
Is Tulum Safe?
Although crime has slightly risen in Tulum over the years, it remains a largely safe for travelers. Most criminal activity is related to gang feuds or disputes about ownership rights at some nightclubs and jungle raves. As long as tourists exercise caution and steer clear of risky situations, they should have no security concerns while enjoying all that this Mexican vacation paradise has to offer!
To make sure your visit is both safe and enjoyable by reading our detailed Tulum Safety Guide and just exercise caution when traveling – avoid being outdoors after dark and remain mindful of your surroundings at all times. With these tips in mind, you can rest assured that you will have an unforgettable trip to this beautiful city!
Where is Tulum?
Tulum, is situated on the eastern side of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in Quintana Roo. Just off the coast and near the Riviera Maya lies this picturesque town which houses some incredible Mayan Ruins. It won’t take you long to get there either – it’s only a 45-minute drive south from Playa del Carmen or 90 minutes south of Cancun!
Located near the awe-inspiring Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Tulum offers a stunning Caribbean getaway! Boasting its second-longest coral reef system in the world and boasting crystalline turquoise waters accompanied with white sand beaches, visitors are gifted with incredible snorkeling and diving opportunities. Experience island living at its finest in beautiful Tulum!
Are you curious about the ideal time to visit and take in Tulum’s spectacular beauty? With its steady, balmy climate (the average temperature stays close to 83°F), primarily,
it is the rainy season that needs careful consideration when planning your getaway.
January – April
Enjoy ideal weather and picturesque landscapes, yet be aware that it’s the peak tourist season – if you don’t care much for crowded spaces, this may not be your best choice. Furthermore, although there are plenty of cenotes and swimming pools to explore here, keep in mind that they’re usually unheated so can still feel a bit chilly.
During the peak months of heat and humidity, there’s still plenty of gorgeous sunlight and balmy ocean water for swimming or snorkeling. However, it is important to be aware that sargassum seaweed can accumulate on beaches during this period; but with fewer visitors around, hotels will likely have more affordable rates. Plus, do not forget about getting travel insurance before visiting as hurricane season usually peaks from September to October!
November – December
Delight in the beauty of Tulum during autumn-winter, when hurricane season is over and humidity levels are more manageable. Don’t forget to take a light jacket; temperatures may drop at night!
When Is Tulum Hurricane Season?
From late May to early November, Tulum enters its annual hurricane season – which reaches its peak intensity between August and October. Although the chances of a direct hit from a Hurricane is slim (only 6 have struck in the past 4 decades), nearby storms can still bring strong winds or precipitation. Therefore, it’s wise to check for weather advisories beforehand and consider buying travel insurance during this time period if possible!
As Tulum has no international airport yet (it will open in the year 2023!), travelers initially have to fly into Cancun and then make a 1.5-2 hour journey overland until they reach their destination (check details below). Cancun International Airport (CUN) is the closest airport to Tulum and is among the largest airports in this region, welcoming more than 20 million guests annually!
Airport Shuttles to Tulum
Private or Group Shuttles are an excellent way to get from the airport to your Tulum destination. Although group shuttles may stop at several hotels before yours, they tend to be generally more affordable than private shuttles (around $45 per person). If you’re traveling in a group of two or more, we suggest booking a private minivan shuttle for about $110 per van; not only is it faster but also tends to be cost-effective when shared among multiple passengers.
Rental Cars in Tulum
Consider renting a car to experience everything the area has to offer. You can rent one right in Tulum town or at the Cancun airport for an unbelievably low rate of $15/day! Unlock your inner explorer and hit the road with confidence knowing you are getting around without breaking the bank.
When you pick up your rental car from the Cancun airport, take a scenic 90-minute drive down the only southbound highway to Tulum Town. Along the way, you will pass through Playa del Carmen and Akumal. Before arriving in Tulum Town, make sure that you know if your lodging is located in Zona Hotelera (hotel zone) or Centro (town center). It’s important because this determines which side of the road your turn off should be on!
In Tulum, getting around via taxi is a breeze. You can either hop in one that passes by or request your hotel to call for you. Usually it won’t cost more than $7 when you’re taking trips within the area of Centro and Hotel Zone. However, travelling back and forth between these two places may increase fares – so be mindful!
If you desire to take a taxi from Cancun or Playa del Carmen to your destination in Tulum, taxis are plentiful. However, it may come at a higher cost than expected so be sure to negotiate the rate prior to taking off. The general price range for the trip is $50 (Playa) – $100 (Cancun). Although expensive, this form of transportation offers convenience and comfort on your journey!
Buses in Tulum
If you’re searching for a thrifty way of traveling from Cancun to Tulum, the bus system is your best bet. The ADO line offers multiple trips between both locations; however, it may take longer than other routes. You can find the most up-to-date schedule online and keep in mind that busses will only stop at authorized stations and not hotels themselves. Affordable convenience awaits!
Things to Do in Tulum
Tulum’s Best Highlights
Tulum is an incredible spot offering a vast variety of activities, things to do and sightseeing opportunities. Whether it’s discovering the ancient Mayan ruins, sunbathing on the picturesque beach, exploring by bike or something else entirely – you’ll undoubtedly find something that captivates your imagination here!
1. Go To The Beach!
With countless picturesque beaches to select from, you’re sure to find one that will make all of your dreams come true. Bring along a swimsuit as well since some waters can be so inviting! If feeling adventurous, venture into kitesurfing classes in Tulum – an activity renowned for its popularity. Accommodation near Zona Hotelera is close by the shoreline; however if staying elsewhere, it’ll only take 10-15 minutes until you reach the coastline.
For an in-depth look at Tulum’s beaches and the best spots for swimming, sunbathing, or just relaxing, you won’t want to miss our Tulum Best Beaches Guide!
2. Explore The Tulum Mayan Ruins
What brought you to this region? Undeniably, it must have been the Tulum Ruins archaeological site! For centuries, travelers from all over the world have felt irresistibly drawn to this magical place. Set atop a cliff overlooking the sea near Tulum Centro and surrounded by beauty, the ruins are guaranteed to captivate your imagination. Guides can be hired at the entrance if you would like an in-depth understanding of its historical worth; however, wandering solo is just as delightful.
3. Visit A Cenote
The immense array of cenotes surrounding Tulum are astounding and profoundly healing, offering a variety of activities from swimming to snorkelling to scuba diving. Be amazed as you explore one of nature’s most spectacular wonders by simply walking around it!
To learn more about cenotes and discover the best ones in Tulum, be sure to explore our amazing Tulum Cenote Guide!
4. Experience The Adventure Parks
Tulum is home to some of the most unforgettable adventure parks on Earth. Xcaret, for example, offers an incredible array of activities – from plunging into its stunning canals and coves to taking part in cultural shows and exploring jungle trails. While these parks may come at a cost, they are widely considered essential experiences if you’re ever in that part of Mexico! If you’re planning to visit the Riviera Maya, then don’t miss out on some of its most popular parks: Xplor with its ziplines and ATVs; Xel-Ha’s waterslides and mangrove tubing experience; Xplor Fuego for a thrilling nighttime torchlight adventure; Xenotes cenote tour through four different ecosystems in the Yucatan jungle; or try your luck at optical illusions over at Xenses. We HIGHLY suggest buying tickets ahead of time due to these parks having limited capacities as well as long queues for those who pay upon arrival.
5. Visit The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will leave you awestruck. From the 120 kilometers of coastline and abundant wildlife, to ancient tropical canals and lush rainforests – this location offers something for everyone! Set sail on an adventure boat tour in search of sea turtles or meander down the winding river canals. Unwind beneath a forest canopy or take it further with snorkeling among colorful coral reefs – whatever your whim may be, an unforgettable experience awaits at Sian Ka’an!
If you’re looking for an unforgettable tour experience, be sure to check out this highly-rated Sian Ka’an biosphere tour! Not only will you get to explore the unique ecosystem of the biome, but you’ll also have a chance to visit the ancient Mayan ruins of Muyil. Don’t miss your opportunity for an amazing adventure and book now!
6. Embrace the hippy/boho side of Tulum
Undoubtedly, you must have been captivated by the enchanting photos on Instagram of Tulum’s beaches, cozy eateries and boutiques – if not then I’m dumbfounded. A majority of shops can be found close to the beach promenade along with exclusive restaurants.Visiting Tulum is a remarkable experience as it was for me!
Though we love the exquisite restaurants and bars in Tulum’s hotel zone (but we don’t love their exorbitant prices!), if you’re looking for a unique experience, this is definitely it. You can’t help but spot people dressed up and ready to take pictures as they embrace that side of Tulum with all its glamor. What are you waiting for? Jump right on board – trust us, you won’t regret it!
7. Discover Tulum Pueblo
Discover Tulum Pueblo’s captivating magic! We always advise new adventurers to check out where locals dwell when visiting a new place; the art, food and culture will beguile you. From Acai to Zanahorias (carrots) and all the delicious options in between, conventional Yucatan delicacies appear everywhere. Strolling around is nice but bicycles are also an excellent way of getting around – they’re available for rent throughout town! Make sure to relish your journey!
Searching for the most delicious cuisine in Tulum? Look no further than our comprehensive Tulum Restaurant Guide!
8. Enjoy the very vibrant Nightlife
During the daylight hours, Tulum captivates visitors with its gorgeous white-sand beaches and mesmerizing cenotes. When night falls on this beautiful Mexican town by the sea, it transforms into a vibrant haven of chic bars and mouthwatering restaurants that serve some of the most delicious cocktails around.
A visit to Tulum promises an unforgettable experience filled with invigoration, relaxation – and stunning evening views!
10. Take A Yoga Class and workout at the beach
Are you searching for somewhere to kick back and savor some yoga while on holiday? Look no further than Tulum, a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation. Here, free-spirited individuals can engage in activities such as music therapy sessions and diverse health & wellness practices. If an invigorating workout is what you’re after, be sure to drop by the awe-inspiring Tulum Jungle Gym!
What To Pack For Your Trip!
Prepare for the vacation of a lifetime in the wondrous Mexican Caribbean! There’s no need to stress or struggle over packing, so we’ve gathered our top picks and suggestions to help you out. Whether it be relaxation or adventure that awaits you here, make sure your suitcase is packed with all of must-haves for an incredible journey!
Entry & Exit Requirements
Obtaining a passport and an FMM (tourism card) is mandatory when traveling to Mexico, and both can be acquired from the Mexican consulate, border-crossing point, Mexican tourism office or directly through your airline. The majority of FMMs are free on arrival; yet for added convenience it’s suggested that you pay for one before arriving. It’s essential to keep this document as it will need to be presented during departure from Mexico. To further ensure that your documents are safe, make sure to store the original versions away in a secure location and keep copies handy when travelling overseas. For additional information, visit the U.S. State Department’s website.
Is there Seaweed in Tulum
From April to August, the Caribbean shores of Mexico (including Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen) have experienced a frequent influx of Sargassum seaweed since 2008. While resorts make an effort in clearing the sand daily, it can still accumulate close by making for unpleasant odors. To avoid this issue we strongly suggest booking a hotel with an attractive pool area or taking your travels across to Cozumel or Isla Mujeres where you won’t experience any effects from the seaweed!
How Many Days Should You Spend In Tulum?
Whether you are utilizing Tulum as your main destination in the stunning Yucatan Peninsula or just want to use it as a jumping-off point for exploring, I would suggest allowing yourself at least seven to ten days here. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to take in all the local sights and Mayan ruins while also indulging in some beach relaxation. If this isn’t your primary destination though, two or three days should be sufficient!
From thrilling excursions to stunning beaches and picture-perfect scenery, Tulum is a must for any traveler’s bucket list. Spend some time discovering why this Mexican gem has become one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in the world today.
Traveling to 🇲🇽 Mexico soon?
I recommend these travel resources for Mexico that I personally use:
🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and Booking.com consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Mexico. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!
✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Mexico, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.
🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.
🚙 CancunAirport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.
🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Mexico, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.
🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Mexico. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.
📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.
☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.
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